In a moment of sheer genius, Qatar has decided that the best way to shade their soccer stadiums during the 2022 World Cup is with enormous solar-powered blimp-clouds.
Whoever decided that it would be a jolly good idea to host the foremost international soccer tournament in the world outdoors, in Qatar, in the middle of the summer, needs to have some sense sunburned into them. Qatar, for its part, says that it's "well equipped to challenge the summer heat." Great, so we'll get enclosed stadiums with air conditioning fueled by the entirety of the middle east's oil reserves? Not so much. Instead, we're getting open stadiums and remote controlled clouds that look like UFOs to provide shade.
The clouds are basically gigantic solar-powered helium blimps, made out of a lightweight carbon structure. They're piloted remotely from the ground, and positioned so that they cast huge shadows over stadiums and practice fields. Qatar says that it'll be able to build these things for about $500,000 each, and there should be a whole fleet of them in place by 2022. And yes, they're even going to work on smaller "commercial models" that you could summon with your cellphone to follow you around and provide you with your very own little piece of perma-shade.
In a place where summer temperatures routinely soar past 110 degrees, I'm honestly not sure how much of a difference a fake cloud will really make to people running around and kicking a soccer ball for 45 minutes at a stretch. Besides, since when is it more fun to watch players die of sunstroke than it is to watch them not die in immersive holographic glory, which is what we would have gotten if the World Cup had gone to Japan? I'd totally take holographic TV over fake clouds any day.